A week after he acquired a 50-pound monster of a laser printer, I badgered T into taking me to Staples to have a look at photo paper. (The badgering was more like, "Hey, let's go to Staples." "OKAY!!" That boy loves office supplies.)
I was hoping we could find some cheap photo paper to test the printer. If it's good enough, I could use it for on-the-fly scrapbooking instead of having to remember to go print photos at the mall. Into Staples we marched, full of purpose. We were going to find some photo paper, dammit, and were going to print some lovely photos (maybe) and live happily ever after.
It was around the time that we were examining laminators that I realized something was amiss. I felt as if I was there for a specific reason, instead of my usual aimless office supply window shopping. "Ohwell," I told myself while reading the laminator box. "Man, I really wish I had a reason to design, print and laminate brochures. This laminator is real snazzy."
The problem with Staples is that it's full of clever and strange things, and I always forget what my purpose is in going there. I don't have a business. I don't work from home. I don't even have a desk. I have absolutely no use for a Rolodex. I have nothing to store inside a three-tiered rotating magnetic basket. I don't have a filing cabinet to fill with multicoloured folders. But I want them. I am attracted to the idea of organization, even if I'm terrible at the implementation of it. And when I see something that is clever, I instantly want to own it. Tech stores like Futureshop are okay, but they're just full of normal technology: computers, tvs, phones. I love going into stores like Staples to find things I never knew existed, and it always makes me wish I ran a business from home so I could have an excuse to own them.
T found a label printer that did barcodes and immediately squealed "I WANT IT. I could print barcodes and put them on my stuff, and then get a barcode scanner and scan them in and I COULD TAKE INVENTORY OF MY POSSESSIONS."
We poured over the change sorting machines ("Do we have enough pennies to justify buying an automatic, auto-rolling change sorting machine?"), we contemplated the benefit of household safes ("It'd be good if there was a fire. We could put our wills in them and stuff." Nevermind the fact that neither of us have a will) and I considered buying a portable mini-scanner ("It's like it's from the future! I could scan in business cards and receipts and construct a digital filing system!" Except that I never take business cards and never keep receipts...)
We finally came around to the paper section and were immediately absorbed in finding the difference between the inkjet, laser and multiuse papers. What difference could there possibly be, it's all just mushed up trees. The photo paper held our attention momentarily, but then we went to look at printers again. Even though we had just purchased one.
"Can I help you?" an employee asked. Staples has the most friendly staff I have ever encountered in a big box store. If you know how to dodge the sales pitches, they will happily chat with you about anything. On this visit we chatted about the pros and cons of laser printers, the mysteries of paper, printing photographs and the new store security system. Staples employees are the only strangers I don't get uncomfortable talking to. :3 We thanked him after about ten minutes and wandered back over to inspect the printer paper.
We sneaked a few sheets out of already-opened packs to compare them. "This one is more rough! And it's thicker" I whispered. "This one's a different shade of white!" T whispered back. We found a piece of ultra-expensive luxury paper. "THIS PAPER IS SO WHITE!" T exclaimed. "Thanks Captain Obvious," I had to grin back. "It's really, REALLY smooth!" I added, stroking the luxury paper as if it were a fur coat.
We eventually left Staples empty-handed, turning into the pet store on the way to the grocery store. "You know, I really wouldn't mind having a snake..." I said as we watched the sinuous creature flicking its tongue. "The initial setup would be a bit less than the fishtank, really..." T replied after a moment's thought.
And so it begins, again...